Skip to main content

Europe´s wild side - the comeback of lynx, wolf, brown bear and wolverine

Threats to endangered species is regularly in the news.  All the better that sometimes there are success stories.  Petra Kaczensky, Georg Rauer and Felix Knauer of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and other international researchers have published a study in the renowned journal Science.  The article shows that large predators - lynx, wolf, brown bear, and wolverine - are finding new habitat even in densely populated Europe.  Altogether Europe now hosts populations of about 17.000 bears, 12.000 wolves, 9.000 lynx and 1.250 wolverines in its densely populated cultural landscapes.  The return of lynx and co. leads to heated discussions in many places. An ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and an active conflict management are very important.

More info (Science article)

(Web editor, 19 December 2014)

The power of the power nap – Scientists uncover secrets of hibernation

For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Sylvain Giroud and colleagues from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have discovered that power-napping can help late-born garden dormice overcome these unfavourable odds. The scientists also found a link between time spent at higher temperatures and ageing. The results were published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

More info

(Web editor, 10 November 2014)

DZG prize for best poster in the ecology category

During its 107th annual meeting the German Zoological Society (DZG) awarded the prize for best poster in the ecology category to Jessica Cornils, doctoral student at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology.  The poster  "RFID-reader is watching you: measuring activity patterns in freeliving edible dormise (Glis glis)" describes research being undertaken for the project on predation risk, stress, and life history tactics of edible dormice.  We are happy for her.

(Web editor, 22 September 2014)

New FWF Project on "Effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids on hibernation and ageing" approved

Hibernators save energy by substantially decreasing metabolic rate and body temperature, but spend  about 80% of their energy expenditure to repeatedly warm up during winter. However, the function of these arousals remains a mystery.  A new project under the leadership of Sylvain Giroud will examine some of the physiological/metabolic processes, notably those affected by polyunsaturated fatty acids, of hibernating garden dormice.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to be one of the main factors affecting the time hibernators can stay in torpor.  The project (P 27267), which was recently approved, is financed by the Austrian science Fund (FWF) and will run from 1 September 2014  to 31 August 2017. 

(Web editor, 5 September 2014)

New children´s book on ural owls „Annas Weg in die Freiheit“

This year young ural owls are again being released into the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald and into the wilderness area Dürrenstein in Lower Austria.  The species had gone extinct in Austria.  Since 2009, Richard Zink of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology has been leading a re-introduction project.  The City of Vienna and the Province of Lower Austria are supporting the project financially.  Now a new children´s book tells the story of ural owls in Austria through the eyes of young owl "Anna". (Book in German) 

More info (in German)

(Web editor, 13 August 2014)

Four more young ural owls released

The re-introduction project of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology has released 153 young ural owls since 2009, from breeding programmes in zoos and breeding centres into protected areas in the Vienna Woods Biosphere Reserve and the Wildneress Area Dürrenstein in the Ybbstaler Alps in Lower Austria.  Now four more young ural owls from a breeding programme at Schönbrunn Zoo are being released into an area of the Vienna Woods, where they encounter a habitat with excellent conditions for survival and reproduction.  The re-introduction programme is led by a team around ornithologist Richard Zink at FIWI.

More info on the project

(Web editor, 18 June 2014)

Annika Posautz is awarded the ULV junior researcher prize 2014

Veterinary scientist Annika Posautz of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology was awarded the  "ULV Nachwuchsförderpreis 2014" (young researcher award) for her project "Prevalence, distribution and cause of systemic amyloidosis in European brown hares (Lepus europaeus)".  The award aims to promote junior scientists within the established academic community at the Vetmeduni Vienna.  We celebrate her accomplishment!

(Web editor, 16 June 2014)

Breaking down barriers – an appeal to conserve migratory ungulates in Mongolia´s grasslands

Mongolian and international conservationists, including researchers from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, have joined forces to raise awareness of the global importance of Mongolia´s steppes. The Gobi-Steppe Ecosystem is home to a unique diversity of animal and plant species, among them several large migratory mammals. The scientists recommend reconciling the rapid infrastructure development that is currently taking place in Mongolia with the needs of migratory species, such as Asiatic wild ass and Mongolian gazelles. Their recommendations are published online in the journal Conservation Biology.

More info

(Web editor 3 June 2014)

4200 visitors on Open House Day 2014

On 24 May 2014 the Vetmeduni opened its doors to visitors, who were able to get a glimpse behind the scenes at the main campus of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.  Some 4200 visitors participated in guided tours, lectures, and interactive displays on the clinical and research activities at the University.  The Department of Integrative Biology and Evolution was  represented with interesting insights into wildlife research.

(Web editor 26 May 2014)


Cause of sudden death established – Chamois had pneumonia

In spring 2010, nearly a third of the chamois living in a region of northern Austria suddenly died of unexplained causes. Concerned hunters and foresters sent the carcasses to the pathology lab at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna for analysis. Extensive investigations revealed that the animals died of bacterial pneumonia caused by two strains of bacteria that are highly unusual in chamois. The results were recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.

More info

(Web editor 16 May 2014)

Teresa Valencak now authorized to teach wildlife biology

At the end of March 2014 Teresa Valencak of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna obtained her formal credentials to teach wildlife biology at university level.  In her habilitation lecture she presented research results on the physiological limits of milk production in hares and mice. 

More info (in German)

(Web editor 9 April 2014)